10 Cheap Ways to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer
The high temps of summer can result in high cooling bills. Fortunately there are several simple ways you can cut back on costs and still stay comfortable. Try these easy tips for beating the heat and saving energy.
- Limit your time in the kitchen
Between the stove, the oven and other appliances, the kitchen can become stifling fast. Limit your time there by microwaving your food or cooking outside on the grill. You can also make no-cook meals like sandwiches and salads.
If you have a slow cooker, summer is a great time to take it out and put it to use. Throw everything in the crockpot in the morning when temperatures are lower, and by the time you come home, your meal will be ready.
- Put sunblock on the windows
Window dressings are for more than just aesthetics and privacy. They can also help decrease your energy bills by keeping you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. According to Family Handyman, as much as 30% of unwanted heat can come through the windows, and the sunlight actually creates a “greenhouse” effect. Reduce unwanted heat by closing curtains and blinds during the hottest part of the day. White color on the window side is best since it deflects the sun. Using insulating curtains can also help maintain a comfortable home temperature throughout the year.
- Let your dishes dry naturally
Dishwashers use a lot of energy and can generate heat in your kitchen. Run the dishwasher in the early morning or in evening when it is cooler. Plus, instead of using the drying cycle, let the dishes dry naturally by keeping the dishwasher door open.
- …your clothes too
Like dishwashers, dryers are also heat-generating energy drains. When possible, hang dry your clothes outside. The hot sun will dry laundry quickly and clothes will also smell nice and fresh.
- Adjust your ceiling fans to run counter-clockwise
Did you know that you can quickly change the rotation of your ceiling fan? It’s as easy as pushing a button or switch located near the base of the fan. In the summer, it is recommended that you set your ceiling fan to rotate counter-clockwise and at a high speed. This will create a cool downward airflow that can provide relief from the heat, and can reduce your reliance on air conditioning.
- Maintain your AC
An inefficient or poorly running air conditioner will consume more energy, won’t cool your home properly, and will have a shorter life. Keeping up with basic maintenance, such as cleaning and/or replacing the air filter, will help it stay in top condition. If you are unsure of how to do these maintenance tasks or how to check the efficiency of your air conditioner, you may want to think about hiring a pro. Spending a little money now can save you big bucks on major repairs later.
- Use cotton sheets
Everyone needs and deserves a good night’s sleep, and that can be just about impossible if you are tossing and turning because you are too hot. Using cotton sheets can help improve your summer sleeping comfort. Cotton is cooler and more breathable than many other fabrics.
- Turn lights off
All light bulbs release heat. Turn off the lights whenever possible, and enjoy the natural light. Incandescent bulbs generate more heat than CFLs, so consider making the switch to the more energy-efficient bulbs.
- Open windows when the time is right
While keeping the blinds and windows closed can keep your home cooler during the day, there are times you will want to let the fresh air in. The trick to staying cool with open windows is to open them only when the temperatures are cooler outside the home than inside. If you have windows located on opposite sides of the room, you can open both of them to ventilate the room and allow a breeze to come in.
- Unplug energy vampires
Electronic equipment and appliances use electricity and emit heat even when they are not in use. These are also known as “energy vampires.” The amount of heat and energy generated by an individual device might be low, but the cumulative effect of many plugged in electronics can add up to a lot. Consider unplugging appliances and electronics such as computers, laptops, coffee makers, cell phone chargers, TVs, and toasters, when you are not using them. If this is too inconvenient, using a power strip for multiple devices can be an option. According to the Department of Energy, unplugging unused electronics can save you as much as 10% on your energy bill.
The temperatures may be rising but that doesn’t mean your energy bills have to. Use these tips and staying cool on a budget will be easy breezy.